Berkshire offloads shares in insurance firm, trims several stakes

Berkshire offloads shares in insurance firm, trims several stakes”

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. slashed the bulk of its holdings in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. during the first quarter, the conglomerate said Friday in a securities filing.

But in this current crisis, Berkshire has soured on Goldman.

The billionaire investor's company cut its Goldman holdings by 84%, helping to reduce their value from about $2.8 billion to less than $300 million. The Amazon wager was a newer bet, disclosed in 2019 ahead of Berkshire's annual meeting.

In one of its few swoops in the first quarter, Berkshire boosted its stake in regional bank PNC Financial Services Group 6%. Mr. Buffett has been a huge backer of US financial services firms in recent years, building up a position in banks, payments companies, insurers and ratings firms. Berkshire has more than 90 operating units including Geico, the BNSF railroad, Dairy Queen ice cream and its namesake energy business.

More news: Verizon reveals a Samsung Galaxy S20 built for its mmWave 5G network

Investors monitor Berkshire's quarterly filings to see where Mr. Buffett and his portfolio managers Ted Weschler and Todd Combs, who is also chief executive of Berkshire's Geico vehicle insurer, see value. Goldman's share price fell 33% in the first quarter as banks suffered with the coronavirus pandemic slamming the brakes on the global economy.

Bottom line, per Bloomberg's Tara Lachapelle: "Buffett, 89, said proudly just two weeks ago that he thinks 'nothing can stop America, ' but it's getting harder to believe him". However, Doug Kass, managing partner at Seabreeze Capital Investment Inc, called the Goldman stock sale "not surprising", Reuters reported.

From January to March, the value of Berkshire's stock portfolio decreased by 27%, from about to $242 billion to $176 billion. Buffett said earlier this month he had sold off his large stakes in four USA air carriers for a lot less than he paid for them.

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